Washington DC – Day Trip 3 – Anne Arundel County

The closer that one heads up the Chesapeake Bay coast from Washington, DC to Baltimore, MD’s famous harbor, the more the Star Spangled Banner is on our mind. And, in the following location one learns who sewed the flag and why.

THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER FLAG HOUSE
844 E. Pratt Street • Baltimore, Maryland 21202
410-837-1793

Born in 1776, Mary Young Pickersgill helped shape history. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House was her home and she sewed (by hand) the 30×42 foot flag which flew over Fort McHenry during the terrifying night in the War of 1812, (which inspired poet Francis Scott Key to write what became our National Anthem).

The exact flag now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington at the National Museum of American History.

She was an experienced flag-maker, and was helped in the endeavor my a half-dozen young family members and an indentured servant. Together the young teenagers helped her piece 18″ wide English wool into what became America’s most precious flag symbol.

Mary Pickersgill lived in Baltimore from 1807 until her death in 1857,and she was one of the first successful American businesswomen 150 years before this avenue was more widely-opened for other women.

And, in addition to being a widow supporting her family as a flag maker, she was a well-known advocate for less fortunate women of her time. She actively addressed social issues like housing, job placement assistance and financial aid for disadvantaged women decades before these issues were prominent concerns in any society. Her efforts established 2 group homes, the doubly-large one for women, the other for men, and they are known today as the Pickersgill Retirement Community, located in Towson, Maryland. This is a living testimony of Mary Pickersgill’s humanitarian contributions to society.

The Visitors Center also houses an 1812 Museum where visitors can learn from a video program about the war, the flag and Mary Pickersgill.

CHARLES CARROLL HOUSE
107 Duke of Gloucester Street • Annapolis, Maryland 21401
410-269-1737

Molly (Mary Darnall) Carroll (1749-1782), heiress and hostess of the Carroll House in Annapolis, was described as “not only being perceptive and observant but also as having an intelligent and lively mind.” No-one would even think to make comments like these today about women, but that’s the whole point of March as Women’s Herstory Month. We see how far we had to go for recognition and equality.

Molly married Charles Carroll of Carrollton, MD – one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. According to 18th century upper class occupational opportunities, Molly was considered to have achieved a high degree of success just by virtue of marrying into a family which continued to afford her a high standard of living, with important social advantages. One wonders what such a lively mind would have been able to contribute if it had been an equitable world. As it was not, all she could do was to use her poise, gracefulness, popularity and charm. So, with these tools, this Revolutionary hostess helped advance her husband’s political career.

This was significant because Carroll was the only Roman Catholic from Maryland to sign the Declaration of Independence and it was Carroll who fought for religious tolerance to be part of the founding documents of the United States of America. He was the last survivor of all 56 signers dying in 1832 in his 96th year. Withstanding the emergence of bigotry against his faith, he ultimately succeeded and continually stood for what is immortally encompassed in “all men who are created equal.”

CHASE-LLOYD HOUSE
22 Maryland Avenue • Annapolis, Maryland 21401
410-263-2723 call ahead to insure docents are available
nominal admission

Anne Baldwin, who married Samuel Chase, another signer of the Declaration of Independence, lived in the house until 1769. Chase never lived in it, but after it was sold to and finished by Lloyd, the house was bought again by the Chase family, and bequeathed to charity.

Others about whom we learn include:
___ Sall Wilks, who was born as a slave here in 1763, had six children, Poll, Sucky, Anna, Charlotte, John, and William. She was in charge of the fine tableware, china, and linen, and her son William was the coachman.
___ Hester Ann Chase Ridout, a Chase relative, who bought the property in 1846 and lived there until 1886, provided in her will that the house be used as a home for elderly ladies. She wanted to provide these women with a retreat from the vicissitudes of life and to ensure the care of the historic property. Today, this National Historic Landmark is still a home for up to twelve self-supporting women over the age of sixty-five.

The first floor of the mansion and the gardens are open to the public so that they may enjoy the exquisite original interiors, especially.

BANNEKER-DOUGLASS MUSEUM
84 Frankin Street • Annapolis, Maryland 21401
410-947-2893
free admission
Closed Sundays and Mondays

Returning to Washington, DC by way of Annapolis, Maryland, there’s lots to see in addition to the famed US Naval Academy at Annapolis. The Banneker-Douglass Museum houses changing offerings about African American arts and culture, including contributions of women.

This museum focuses on African Americans of the Chesapeake region from about 1633 to the civil-rights movement. It is named after two prominent local African-American residents, astronomer/inventor Benjamin Banneker and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass. This organization is the state’s official repository of African American material culture.

Learn more about slavery, the Pulitzer Prize winning book “Roots” and Alex’s slave progenitor memorial statue Kunta Kinte and Alex Haley in Annapolis.

ANNAPOLIS HIGH SCHOOL
2700 Riva Road • Annapolis, Maryland 21401 • 410-266-5240

Louise W. Linthicum (1877-1931) was principal of Annapolis High School from 1910-1928, and she is reported to be the first woman to serve as principal in a Maryland Public High School in the 20th Century. Unbelievable as it may seem to us today, the school went through seven male principals in 14 years from its founding in 1896, and no women were considered for the position, as the literature on education from the early twentieth century makes it quite clear —- only men were considered suitable for the principal’s job at the high school level. Amazing!

Annapolis had been unable to keep its male principals because the salary paid was lower than what they could earn elsewhere in or out of state. Louise graduated from the State Normal School (today Towson University) in 1894. She earned an additional degree from Johns Hopkins in 1923. So, finally, she helped the women who followed her get a foot-in-the-door tp practice the profession they had earned by their own dedicated scholarship.

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©2011 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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